In my dreams, I get the nod and leave the pleading masses behind, through the velvet ropes, with Liza on my arm or perhaps I’m riding a horse, into the most decadent gathering since the Roman Orgies, a light show above swirling dancers, people doing who knows what in the balcony, and above it all, the moon snorting coke.
Well, I was only 14 years old during the height of Studio 54’s heyday, so that hardly would have been realistic unless I was friends with Brooke Shields or Michael Jackson, but you can bet that I heard all about the famed club even while growing up in Japan.
And ever since, I’ve been obsessed with what it would have been like to be there. What a perfect use for a time machine! That is why I’ve picked club’s official album, “A Night at Studio 54”, as my 10th choice for the Album Challenge.
This compilation of disco classics released by the disco label Casablanca was designed to replicate a night at the disco. All you needed was a disco ball and line of coke, cardboard cutouts of Divine, Halston, and Cher and you were there.
It has been said that the club’s playlist was rather conventional, rather than edgy and underground, and the album reflects that. But the hits were hits for a reason and have remained popular for over 40 years, so it was quite representative. Among the tracks, you had:
“Le Freak” by Chic. This song was actually inspired by the club, or rather by members of Chic being rejected from getting into Studio 54, then channeling their anger into a song called “Fuck Off” which they luckily changed to “Le Freak”, giving them the last laugh.
“Y.M.C.A.” by Village People, a song played at every wedding, but quite subversively gay at the time.
“Take Me Home” by Cher, from her disco period.
“I Love The Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges, later revived memorably in the “Priscilla” film.
“Last Dance” by Donna Summer, ’nuff said.
“Got To Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn, written by her, David Foster, and David Paich of Toto; she would also appear on Toto’s “Georgy Porgy” from their debut album.
“Shake Your Groove Thing” by Peaches and Herb, also memorably used in “Priscilla” during the ping-pong ball scene.
All-in-all, it got us as close to a fabulous night out at Studio 54 as we’d ever get. In truth, the legend probably remains better in our dreams than in reality, probably a night you wouldn’t have remembered anyhow due to all the drugs you ingested. Ah, the dream!